RESTAURANT AND BAR PLANNED FOR FORMER LINCOLN PARK CHURCH

A Church in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood will soon be transformed into a… restaurant and bar. 

Bethany Lutheran Church is located at 2308 W. 3rd Street. The church was built in 1903 and originally was a Swedish-speaking church. Bob Bagley has purchased the church (which is no longer be used) and has plans to transform its unique spaces into a restaurant and bar called Church Restaurant Duluth.

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The main floor of the building will house the restaurant and bar which will have seating for 128 people. Bagley intends to reuse some of the existing architectural elements within the new restaurant such as the pews which will be used for table booths and a bar top. 

One unique aspect of the transformation of the Bethany Lutheran Church building is that the building will also house a large indoor garden on the basement level of the building. Bagley intends to use the harvest from the garden to create dishes for the restaurant along with the possibility of selling some of the excess goods to neighbors.

While some may look at the transformation of a religious space into a restaurant and bar as odd Bagley is excited about the transformation. He feels that with the transformation the space will return to its roots and become a gathering space for the community, like it was for the previous 120 years when it functioned as a church. 

Church Restaurant will located just blocks from the thriving Lincoln Park Craft District. A straight shot down the road will bring you to Duluth Cider, make a right and you’ll arrive at Ursa Minor Brewing and Wild State Cider, make a left and you’ll be brought to OMC Smokehouse, Corktown Deli, Love Creamery, Taco Arcada, Bent Paddle Brewing and more. With the addition of Church Restaurant to the Lincoln Park scene the neighborhood continues to establish itself as a place for unique eats, drinks and shopping.

There isn’t an exact opening date set for Church Restaurant, however the hope is that work can be completed within a year which would put an opening somewhere in mid to late 2020.

 

AT HOME, THE HOME DECOR SUPERSTORE, LOOKS TO HAVE ITS SIGHTS SET ON DULUTH

A large space that was recently vacated by Shopko may already have a new tenant lined up to fill it.

At Home bills itself as “The Home Décor Superstore.” The company appears to be planning a new store within a 119,842 square foot space located at 801 W Central Entrance. The space was being marketed up until recently when the listing was taken down.

What exactly is At Home? It’s you dream store when it comes to home goods.

Stores carry over 50,000 unique items including furniture, home décor, wall décor, rugs and just about anything else you would need for your home. And when it comes to the stores, they’re massive. Think six times the size of a TJMaxx or a HomeGoods store (if you missed our post, HomeGoods is also opening in Duluth soon).

After we were notified last week that individuals working on the project were in the city recently, we reached out to At Home to see if they could confirm the Duluth opening. “It is too soon to provide any additional information about this store” a company representative responded with. Key words there are “too soon” and “this store.” To us that looks like a confirmed location.

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At Home currently has 185 locations across the United States and is expanding with the goal of reaching 600 locations in total. Currently there are two At Home locations in Minnesota within the Twin Cities area with one location being located in Burnsville and another in Blaine. The Blaine store is the most recent store to open and when it opened in 2016 it filled 138,000 square feet of space that previously was home to a Wal-Mart. That’s quite the superstore when you consider that At Home’s typical store is around 120,000 square feet (meaning Duluth’s former Shopko space is perfect).

If… more so when… At Home opens in Duluth it will add some competition to the already somewhat heated home décor market. The new store would be located directly next to a Pier 1 Imports and just down the road from HOM Furniture, Schneiderman’s, Slumberland and the planned HomeGoods.

Recently, Pier 1 Imports posted a dramatic loss in sales and announced that they are planning to close 57 or more locations around the US. No word yet on the fate on the Duluth location or the impacts that At Home could have on it.  

Depending on when construction begins, At Home could open as soon as the end of this year. We’ve asked to be notified when more information is available and will be sure to post it here on our website once it is.

 

HERE WE GO AGAIN. COSTCO APPARENTLY SCOUTING FOR DULUTH LOCATION

Could Costco be coming to Duluth… this time for real?

Multiple sources are stating that Costco is working with a local real estate company to find a suitable site for building a new store within the area. At the moment it is rumored that three sites are in the running with one site in particular, at the corner of Haines Road and Arrowhead Road, having been named.

The site located at 4699 W Arrowhead Road has been listed for sale for a number of years by Holappa Commercial Real Estate. In total the site covers 54.2 acres which is much more space than what Costco typically would need. Costco stores on average are around 150,000 square feet which requires anywhere between 20-30 acres of land. However, the company does have some locations that around 250,000 square feet which require extra acreage. Now, just because there are 54 acres of land that doesn’t mean Costco would need to take all it and therefore could easily carve out a perfect acreage amount for their store.

4699 W Arrowhead Road  (Holappa Commercial Real Estate)

4699 W Arrowhead Road (Holappa Commercial Real Estate)

Costco is still expanding in Minnesota. The company just yesterday opened a brand-new 162,000 square foot store, the second largest in the state, in St. Cloud. Another, even bigger store, has been announced for the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan and is expected to open in late 2019/early 2020. Currently there are 10 other Costco locations within the state of Minnesota with the closet to Duluth being located in Baxter.

Costco plans to open 20+ new stores this year and is currently planning another 20 or more locations that would open by 2022. Duluth is currently not listed as a planned location.

Rumors of Costco coming to Duluth have been swirling for a number of years. We actually originally posted about the rumors back in 2016 when the company was said to be opening a store within the market that year or the following.

We have yet to hear of the other two sites within the area that Costco could potentially be looking at. As always, we want to remind our readers that at the moment this only a rumor. But hey, rumors become reality sometimes. Just take the recent confirmation of HomeGoods opening with Duluth as an example. 

We will be sure to post more information on our website about Costco coming to Duluth once more information is available. Until then, take a moment to check out our Development Map to see all of the other exciting projects under construction and planned for the Twin Ports.

 

HOMEGOODS OPENING DULUTH LOCATION

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Rumors confirmed. HomeGoods is opening in Duluth. 

HomeGoods will open a new 23,458 square foot store at 5115 Burning Tree Road in a retail space that was formerly home to Dunham Sports (and just one space away crom TJMaxx. The new store is expected to begin construction this fall with an opening anticipated before the end of the year. 

Duluthians have had a HomeGoods store on their wish list for quite some time and a few months ago rumors began swirling that the retailer was coming to Duluth.

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The company is owned by TJMaxx and operates on the same business model of selling amazing finds at incredible savings.” The difference between the two retailers is that instead of selling clothing like TJMaxx HomeGoods focuses on household furniture, décor and other household items. 

HomeGoods currently has 14 Minnesota locations with 12 located in the Twin Cities along with one location in St. Cloud and Rochester.

 

CHUCK & DON'S OPENING FIRST NORTHLAND LOCATION

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Duluth, you’re about to get a new pet store and we think you’re going to LOVE it.

Chuck & Don’s will open their first Northland location in Duluth this fall. The new store will be located in The Jigsaw retail development that will be constructed at the corner of Miller Trunk Highway and Anderson Road.

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON

Founded in 1990, Chuck & Don’s began as a small retail shop by Chuck Anderson and Don Tauer. The two were destined to open a pet business together as at the time Chuck owned a dog kennel and Don owned a dog training school next door. The two joined forces and opened their first Chuck & Don’s location in Eagan, MN.

In 1993, Bob Hartzell became a business partner with Chuck and Don. Over time the three expanded their business from it’s single Minnesota location to over 45 locations within the Twin Cities, Southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.

WHAT MAKES CHUCK AND DON’S DIFFERENT?

Chuck & Don’s is committed to doing “what’s best for the customer and community” according to their website. They offer a large selection of quality food and treats, toys, pet accessories and more that have all been hand selected by Chuck & Don’s pet experts.

Team members at Chuck & Don’s are beyond knowledgable. They’re friendly, there to help and will go out of their way to ensure that you and your pet have everything you need.

When it comes to pets the place doesn’t just cater to dogs and cats. They also stock plenty of items for birds, reptiles and other small household animals truly making the place a one stop shop for pet owners.

When it comes to comparing Chuck and Don’s to other retailers the biggest thing you’ll notice right away is the size of the store. Chuck and Don’s locations range anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 square feet. To put that in perspective, their store locations are about a fifth of the size of your local Duluth PetSmart.

Now, don’t let that fool you. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they won’t have anything and everything you need for your pet. In fact, they’re one of the best pet retailers to check out for specialized products that are hard to find anywhere else.

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THE LOCATION

Launch Properties is developing the retail project that Chuck and Don’s will call home. The project will have 21,700 square feet of retail space split into three different buildings. Chuck & Don’s will occupy 4,000 square feet of space within one of the multi-tenant buildings.

The project is the second in the area for Launch Properties. The company constructed the retail center kiddy corner to the site that today is home to Aspen Dental and Starbuck’s. One additional 2,500 square foot retail space within that development remains to be leased.

Mid-America Group is responsible for the leasing of The Jigsaw project. If your business would like to be Chuck and Don’s neighbor you can find more information on the retail development here.

Chuck & Don’s will open later this year at the corner of W Central Entrance and Anderson Road.

 

VACANT YOUNKER'S SPACE HAS FOUND A BUYER

Younker’s during it’s closing sale in 2018 (MPR News)

Younker’s during it’s closing sale in 2018 (MPR News)

What once was retail is now becoming space for healthcare.

It was a tough year last year at the Miller Hill Mall when not only Younker’s closed but also Sears, both due to bankruptcies. Many malls across are losing one anchor tenant, but to lose two within months of each other is very uncommon. The two closures left almost 300,000 square feet of vacant retail space at the Miller Hill Mall resulting in a major leasing challenge.

But good news, the vacant Younker’s space at the Miller Hill Mall officially has a buyer. 

Essentia Health has purchased the vacant space for $3.2 million. The building covers 145,000 square feet of space on two levels and has two different access points to the interior of the mall along with two different access points on the exterior leading to a large parking lot.

A RETAIL EPIDEMIC

While many were hoping for more retail to take over the space (rumors of Dillard’s even surfaced earlier in the year) the purchase by Essentia Heath and the change in use of the space is actually very common in the mall world these days.

Vacant Younker’s space (TDTDULUTH)

Vacant Younker’s space (TDTDULUTH)

With large vacancies occurring at malls throughout the country property owners have needed to get creative in finding ways to fill them and trust us, they have. Spaces have become large fitness centers, universities, creative office space, housing and more. 

In the Twin Cities multiple malls are dealing with the closing of anchor tenants just like the Miller Hill Mall. Southdale Center in Edina lost anchor tenant JCPenney and in response sold the vacant space to LifeTime Fitness who has since then torn down the building and is now constructing a massive fitness center, co-working space and retail space. Just North of Minneapolis Rosedale Center is dealing with the same problem of losing an anchor tenant when Herberger’s closed last year. Sources have stated that the JLL, the company that owns Rosedale Center, has plans to tear down the Herberger’s space and in its place build a large mixed-use development with housing, a hotel, retail/restaurant space and more.

So, with all this being said Essentia Health moving into the former Younker’s space isn’t out of the norm, it actually IS the new norm.

WHAT’S INSTORE (LITERALLY)?

That’s a good question. Not many details on what Essentia Health plans to do with the space have been made public. 

Rumors are swirling that the Essentia Health Fitness and Therapy Center located at 402 E. Second St. will be relocating from Downtown Duluth to the Younker’s space. The reason for the move is due to Essentia Health’s $800+ million “Vision Northland” plan which will replace the center with a large new medical building/campus.  

The relocation makes sense overall but the question that we are pondering is whether or not Essentia Health will truly take up the entire space.

WHAT WE THINK THE FUTURE COULD HOLD

To begin with, it’s a lot of space. Because it’s a lot of space it would make sense for Essentia Health to take over the upper floor and a portion of the lower level while designating some of the space that is directly next to the mall corridors for retail use. Whether or not Essentia Health would own that space and lease it themselves or potentially even sell it to the mall’s owner, Simon Properties, is a question that still remains.

Here’s another thing that could happen. Essentia Health could demolish the existing building altogether. 

Sounds pretty crazy… but it’s actually not when you think about it. Essentia Health is currently investing millions in a new Health and Wellness Center just down the road in Hermantown. What that might mean is that not all of the services currently offered at the downtown fitness center would transfer (i.e. the swimming pools) to the Younker’s space as they may be offered at the Hermantown Wellness Center. And, if they do plan on offering the exact same services there is going to need to be some SIGNIFICANT construction occurring in the existing space in order transform it. There’s a potential chance that the overall cost for rehabbing the current space might actually be more than just building an entirely new building itself.

At the moment we don’t have many details to share on the exact plans that Essentia Health has instore but when we do we’ll be sure to post more information about them right here.

 

CONFIRMED: JERSEY MIKE'S TO OPEN DULUTH LOCATION

Vacant storefront where Jersey Mike's will be located /// Google Earth

Vacant storefront where Jersey Mike's will be located /// Google Earth

A national sub chain is coming to Duluth. Cue the drooling. 

Jersey Mike's will open what will be their FIRST Northland shop at 905 W Central Entrance in the Stone Ridge Shopping Center the company's website recently confirmed. The new sub shop will be located in the former home of "The Smoke Shop" which moved to a new location.

Now you might be saying to yourself, "Oh great, another sub shop."  You also might be thinking, "What makes Jersey Mike's any different from let's say... Jimmy John's?" 

THE DIFFERENCES

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One: Jersey Mike's doesn't make "freaky fast" deliveries like Jimmy John's. They actually don't deliver at all. 

Two: They serve breakfast subs.

Three: They keep it simple and fresh.

The restaurant specializes in submarine sandwiches that are made to order and offer them both hot and cold (there are wraps too). Jersey Mike's various meats and cheeses are sliced when ordered instead of being pre-sliced like many of their competitors. You can also get the subs topped "Mike's Way" which includes sliced onions, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, oregano, salt (spices) and something called "The Juice" (red wine vinegar and olive oil). Last but not least, Jersey Mike's has become well known for their cherry pepper relish.

SOME HISTORY

Jersey Mike's began as a "Mike's Submarines" in 1956 in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. In 1956 Peter Cancro got a job there and in 1975 he and a friend bought the company. In 1987 they began franchising the restaurant that was now named "Jersey Mike's". Today there are over 1,200 locations (21 of those being in Minnesota) and hundreds of new locations are also in development. Fun fact: In just the last five years the company has almost doubled their store count.

Jersey Mike's in Duluth will open this Fall. The company and local franchisee have yet to release a set date.

 

RETAIL AND RESTAURANTS PROPOSED FOR W CENTRAL ENTRANCE SITE

Duluth's retail core may become even more... retail... That is if one developer's plans are approved by the city.

Launch Properties is proposing a new commercial development at the corner of W Central Entrance and Anderson Road. The development company is currently building a commercial development across the street that will include an Aspen Dental, a new Starbucks location, and additional retail space ideally situated for a restaurant.

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Plans for their next commercial development include 17,200 square feet of commercial space. That space will be broken down into three different buildings that will in the end include both retail and restaurants depending on how leasing pans out.

Currently plans show a 6,800 square foot building that would house one retail space and two restaurant spaces. The next building include a freestanding 2,700 sqf restaurant building that would have a drive through (Raising Cane's, please). Lastly, there would be a 7,700 sqf building that would ideally be split between one retail space and two restaurant spaces.

Entry to the retail development would be provided by a one way access from W Central Entrance heading towards Downtown. Both entry and exit lanes would also be available off of Anderson Road. 128 surface parking spaces would be provided within the commercial project.

Launch Properties' proposed commercial development is heading through the City Planning Commission at their September 11th meeting. If you'd like to provide input on the project before then a meeting with the developers will occur today at 5:30pm at the Duluth Heights Community Recreation Center (33 West Mulberry Street).

No tenants or renderings for the project have been released yet. The expected timeline for construction is Spring 2019 through Summer 2020. As more information is provided we will be sure to post it here at The Development Tracker | Duluth. 

 

CARIBOU COFFEE PLANNED FOR CENTRAL ENTRANCE

Former BP station during partial demoliton ///  Mix108

Former BP station during partial demoliton /// Mix108

There has been a question circulating around town for the last few months. What is happening to the former BP gas station at 2 E Central Entrance? Two words. Caribou Coffee.

Local developer Kleiman Realty is currently renovating the building in preparation for Caribou Coffee to set up shop. This will be Caribou's seventh Duluth location and it will be just one mile from the Stone Ridge Shopping Center location and less than two miles from the Miller Hill Mall location. We've reached out to Caribou Coffee to see if this by chance might be a relocation but chances are that it is most likely not.

Why not? Competition is getting hot.

Recent additions to the area such as Dunkin' Donuts and the ever so present chance that Tim Horton's might enter the market are really changing the market.

To make things worse for Caribou Coffee, Starbuck's has recently been investing significantly in new locations within the area. Just a few years ago they opened a new location along Woodland Avenue, remodeled their Downtown location and later this year will open a new location along Central Entrance (no word either on if that will be a relocation of the current location along Central Entrance or not). Recent news we've heard is that three other locations might be introduced within the Twin Ports within the next two years.

Inspiration for new Caribou Coffee interior design /// PR Newsire

Inspiration for new Caribou Coffee interior design /// PR Newsire

Currently the details on the new Caribou Coffee location are scarce. Multiple permits have been pulled out for the renovation and work has been happening for the last few weeks. A Fall opening is expected.

Whether or not this location will be a dual branded store like ones that have previously opened in Duluth is unclear. Caribou Coffee recently made some revisions to their expansion of the Coffee & Bagels chain where they partner with other chains such as Bruegger's or Einstein Bagels (among others). The partnership is still happening but going forward there is much more of an emphasis on the Caribou Coffee part of the partnership.

We will keep you all updated with any additional details that we become aware of. Until then, dream of those Northern Lite Coolers that might just be a step closer to you depending on where you live.

 

TACO BELL PLANS GRAND AVENUE LOCATION... AGAIN.

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Once upon a time on December 21st, 2015 we reported that Taco Bell was coming to Grand Avenue in West Duluth. Then nothing happened. #wahwah

Sometimes plans fall through and we are truly sorry for that.

Good news though, plans have been revived for a Taco Bell on Grand Avenue but this time around it's planned for a new site at 4426 Grand Avenue. While the address states that it is on Grand Avenue the site is actually tucked behind a Subway location and will be accessible off of N 44th Avenue W. Currently the site is a gravel parking lot.

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The Grand Avenue location will be a 2,723 square foot building that will have a drive-thru and a parking lot with space for 23 vehicles. 

Believe it or not, it may actually be a good thing that the first location wasn't constructed when it was originally proposed in 2015. Why? Taco Bell has come out with a whole new design for their stores since then that has re-energized the brand and created a great space to dine and hangout in.

Taco Bell has a great article on their website about the four new store designs that they introduced for their restaurants. The designs are mean't to play off the neighborhood and vibe of the city. What this allows for is a unique experience for customers that will differ from each Taco Bell they visit.

Taco Bell currently has one Duluth location on Central Entrance while another location is also currently being constructed on London Road in Duluth at the corner of London Road and 21st Avenue E. A location also recently opened in Cloquet.

Both of the new Duluth locations are being developed by Marvin Development IV, LLC.

 

SEARS AND K-MART ARE CLOSING. IS THERE A SILVER LINING?

Sears at the Miller Mall Mall |  MPR News

Sears at the Miller Mall Mall | MPR News

A closing is never good news, let alone two announced in a single day.

That's what happened yesterday when Sears Holdings announced that not only would the Sears location at the Miller Hill Mall be closing, but also the K-Mart in West Duluth on Central Avenue.

The two closings will result in a loss of a number of jobs in the city and will also introduce nearly 200,000 square feet of available retail space into the Twin Ports market.

Sounds terrible, right? Here's why you might want to begin looking at these closings a little more lightly. There's a silver lining, even if it doesn't seem that way at the moment.

Sears

Sears originally opened their Miller Hill Mall location in 1986. The store is a single level space that covers around 110,000 square feet and has entrances from both the mall and parking lot. That's quite a bit of space when you consider the mall itself is only about 830,000 square feet in size.

An interesting fact about the Sears space is that Sears Holdings actually OWNS the store and the land underneath, meaning they control the exterior, interior, and the surrounding parking area. Today the site is estimated to be worth around $3.6 million. 

Now, let's talk about why Sears owning the land is a good thing. It means they have to sell. Selling could mean to another retailer, which is probably unlikely as most retailers these days are not tending to make investments in real estate, or it could mean selling the space to Simon Property Group, the owner of the Miller Hill Mall.

$3.6 million is a small investment for a company like Simon. In addition, buying the former Sears space would allow the mall to take over more retail space and expand the mall which is currently near full occupancy (minus a few small retail spaces).

So, what would Simon do with the space if they did happen to buy it?

The options are endless.

What would most likely happen is that Simon would redevelop the space into more retail space, similar to what they did about a decade ago when they redeveloped the former Walgreen's space at the front of the mall into a number of different retail spaces. This would result in an updated exterior, new parking lot, and a number of new retail spaces (H&M there'd be room for you too).

Another option is that the mall could try to reposition the space as something entertainment related, a huge trend with redeveloping malls lately. That could mean a entertainment center of some sort, like Dave and Busters, or a movie/dining experience such as Alamo Drafthouse.

Lastly, the mall could try to subdivide the space or lease the space out to another large retailer. Believe it or not there are still some big box retailers that are still expanding and waiting for space like this.

In addition, if the mall is touching the Sears end maybe this will be the time for a full mall renovation. Simon is known for completing full renovations of malls while repositioning vacant anchor spaces.

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What about Kmart?

The closing of Kmart is without a doubt a major hit to the West Duluth neighborhood. It introduces a major void to the surrounding community which will lack a general merchandise retailer (i.e. clothes, food, household products, in one place) that is easily accessible. Another problem is that it introduces around 80,000-90,000 sqf of new retail space to the area.

But wait, is that a problem?

It might not be as the space being introduced is perfect in size to house a single or multiple retailers and is in a great area.

Some retailers that could set up shop in the space that come to our mind are Aldi, which has been actively scouting for another location in Duluth, or something along the lines of a small format Target. Target has been opening a number of small format locations across the country recently with a number of them being in former Kmart locations that have recently been vacated. 

While the closure will certainly cause disruption to the neighborhood, a silver lining is surely in store (literally). Now we're just playing a waiting game. DTA, can we get some more transit options to over the hill for the time being?

ZEN EYE CARE PLANS SPRING OPENING

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Come this Spring, a new eye care option will be available for Duluthians and the surrounding communities when Zen Eye Care opens in Duluth.

Located at 2106 London Road, Zen Eye Care will be the third tenant to open in Endi, a new mixed-use development that recently was completed on the corner of London Road and 21st Avenue E. Endi's developer, Harbor Bay Real Estate, had set out on a mission from the very conception of the project to attract businesses and services that would benefit not only its residents, but also the surrounding community.

Zen Eye Care will do just that. 

A DIFFERENT STYLE OF EYE CARE

The concept of "Enlightened Vision" is what will set Zen Eye Care apart from others. It is mean't to create a mindful experience in three main ways: by making the process more Efficient, more Personalized, and more Meaningful for their patients.

Efficient:  Zen Eye Care welcomes the digital age by using the smartest portable, integrated, and accurate hand held technologies to create a streamlined eye exam. The optical eyewear inventory consists of well-researched trending shapes for men and women with the idea that they carry more colors in the better shapes.  The optical will have an in-house lab to cut lenses on site.  Zen Eye Care’s location provides convenient access, parking, and store hours.

Personalized: The concept of mindfulness during each visit is meant to concentrate on each individual relationship.  This is an Eastern concept whereby visitors are served tea and meant to relax, have a conversation, and make a friend.  Every patient will get a take home summary of their exam and will also be able to access their records on a secure patient portal any time they need it. The patient portal will also allow patients to schedule future exams at their convenience.  

Meaningful: Zen Eye Care has established what they call the Zen Initiative.  With this initiative Zen Eye Care makes donations to local non-profit programs based on a percentage of the dollars each patient spends. The cool thing? The patient decides where it goes.  Products are sourced from independently owned companies and are chosen based on environmental impact and sustainability.  All of the eyewear comes with a story of how they make a global impact.  All visits are meaningful to Zen Eye Care and hopefully to each patient, because every dollar spent tells a story of how they are benefitting the local community.  Every frame purchased will tell a story of how Zen Eye Care will help make an impact in the world. 

Eric Bohjanen, Doctor of Optometry and Don Quada, Certified Optician are two guys from the Midwest who sat down after 16 years of experience in the eye care industry and combined their talents to create this entirely different model of eye care.  The idea was to create a model that could give a one-stop full service eye exam and optical experience while also benefitting the community.  More information will be available on their website at zeneyecare.com once the clinic opens this Spring.

Zen Eye Care is currently under construction and will be located just a few doors down from Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bagels at 2106 London Road.

 

BLUESTONE COMMONS PLANNING BIGGEST PHASE YET

An aerial showing a mass diagram of the final phase of BlueStone Commons | Duluth Planning Commission

BlueStone Commons final phase of development will be its largest phase yet.

The final phase, tentatively called BlueStone Vue, might actually give a little more meaning to the word “view”. Developers last year stated that they were working on plans for a mixed-use building that would include at least 100 residential units along with an undisclosed amount of retail.

While it seemed at that time that developers were proposing a building that would be comparable in size to BlueStone Lofts and BlueStone Flats, the other two residential buildings within BlueStone Commons, we see now that plans have grown significantly.

Plans have been submitted by the developers to the City of Duluth’s planning commission requesting a height variance for the site. Plans show an 11 story residential building standing 123’ feet in height along with a larger retail building sitting adjacent to the residential tower.

Now before you think that might be out of a scale for the area, take a look at the site section diagram below. There you will be able to see that the building would actually be no higher than the tallest adjacent buildings such as the Mount Royal apartments and the Grigg's residential hall at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

A section diagram showing the height of the new building with the surrounding buildings in the area | Duluth Planning Commission

Doran has constructed a similar residential building in both size and function within Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood called “The Bridges.” It too stands 11 stories tall and features 211 residential units aimed at students enrolled in the University of Minnesota. It seems that Doran might be looking to take a similar route with a building of the same scale here at BlueStone Commons.

MORE RETAIL

As mentioned above, there will also be retail space within the final phase. It appears that there will be a larger amount of retail than originally expected as mass studies show a big box anchor retail space that would be constructed in front of the new residential tower. While no specific details have been made available regarding the size of the retail space it looks to be around 25,000 square foot (think about the size of a Michael's store) and also seems to be designed for one large retailer.

Now what could that tenant be? It seems logical that BlueStone Commons could see the addition of a grocery store of some type within the development. Developers had stated years back that they would like to lure something along the line of a Trader Joe’s or Aldi to the site, something that would benefit not only the residents within the project but also the surrounding area. 

Requests for more information have been sent to Doran regarding this new exciting project. The project will officially go before the Duluth Planning Commission at their November 15th meeting.

 

ALDI FILES PLANS FOR DULUTH STORE

Aldi in Superior, WI | CDINDULUTH

Aldi is moving forward with their plans for a new Duluth location.

The discount supermarket chain has filed their plans with the City of Duluth's planning commission for an 18,553 square foot freestanding location at the corner of Mall Drive and Mountain Shadow drive. The store would utilize the chains most recent "version 7.0 prototype" design.

Aldi announced their interest in the Duluth market nearly two years ago. Their first Twin Ports location opened at 4429 Tower Avenue in Superior last November and has been a great success. That success immediately had Aldi working on plans for a Duluth location. The chain says Duluth could even hold the possibility for more than one location in the future.

In Duluth Aldi will occupy a space at the Village Mall that is currently a parking lot in front of Hobby Lobby and Savers and adjacent to Grandma's Restaurant.

Right now the Village Mall shopping center is going through a renovation including a completely new parking lot, a new facade for Savers that will match Hobby Lobby's, and also the addition of a drive through drop off area for Savers. PetSmart also has plans to open at the center and is currentlyconstructing a 19,000 square foot store in the remaining Kmart space next to Hobby Lobby. That store is expected to open in Spring 2017.

More details on this exciting project will be made available soon.

 

F.Y.E. TO OPEN MILLER HILL MALL LOCATION

A newly opened F.Y.E. location at Crossgates Mall   |   F.Y.E.

A newly opened F.Y.E. location at Crossgates Mall  |  F.Y.E.

A new entertainment store selling music, movies, games, CDs, DVDs, vinyls, fan merchandise and more is about to make the Miller Hill Mall it's home. F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment) will open the doors to it's new store on October 21st.

The entertainment retailer will be moving into the space that was left vacant when Wet Seal closed their location at the mall after the company declared bankruptcy. It's been almost two years since Wet Seal's closure and that space has yet to find a permanent tenant... until now that is.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST?

Now if you are thinking to yourself that F.Y.E. reminds you of a retailer that went by the name of Sam Goody (which had a location at the Miller Hill Mall about a decade ago) then you're on the right track. Why? Well, F.Y.E. is what Sam Goody turned into.

Both companies were owned by Trans World and in 2006 it was decided that Sam Goody would cease operations with a large number of their locations closing, including the one at the Miller Hill Mall. The locations that did remain open however were rebranded as F.Y.E.

The former Wet Seal space | CDINDULUTH

Interior of a new F.Y.E. location | F.Y.E.

A NEW LOOK FOR F.Y.E.

F.Y.E. struggled after the recession in 2008 like many retailers and closed a number of underperforming stores. In recent years the company has been looking for ways to stay competitive in the market and in 2015 revamped their image and their store offerings by introducing an entirely new F.Y.E. store. 

Today customers will find not only CDs and DVDS but rather tons of pop-culture merchandise and a large selection of vinyls. That large selection of vinyls is one of the biggest things that has put F.Y.E. back on the map in recent years. As all styles and trends come into the spotlight again, vinyls have ultimately swept the stage becoming extremely popular with the millennial generation.

F.Y.E plans to open their Duluth location later this month with the Miller Hill Mall mall officials stating Friday, October 21st as the anticipated opening date. Once open it will be the first location for the retailer in Northern Minnesota and their second in Minnesota.

 

Crooked Pint Ale House plans Duluth location; New tenants announced for Kenwood Village

Crooked Pint in Minneapolis  |  Crooked Pint

Crooked Pint in Minneapolis | Crooked Pint

Twin Ports Residents, raise your glasses. A new pub is coming to town.  

Crooked Pint Alehouse, a nouveu styled urban pub, will open their first Northern Minnesota location at Kenwood Village come Summer 2017. The 4,958 square foot location will take up the largest ground floor retail space and will feature a patio with seating for 76 on the corner of Arrowhead Road and Kenwood Avenue.

Cooked Pint is a Minnesota chain of restaurants based out the Twin Cities that currently has 4 locations within the state. They’re known for their pub fare and for having a huge selection of beers on tap with most locations having atleast 32 available.

Layout for the Duluth Crooked Pint location  |  Duluth Planning Commission

Layout for the Duluth Crooked Pint location | Duluth Planning Commission

Now while the restaurant may be a chain, you’ll most likely forget that when you step in the door. Crooked Pint restaurants feature rough-sawn oak floors and pub styled furniture. It’s meant to feel like a neighborhood restaurant and anything but a chain.

The Duluth location will feature a large bar centered within the room with seating for 30. We're sure this place will be a MAJOR hit with the local college students and residents alike.

ADDITIONAL TENANTS

Two additional tenants were also announced for the Kenwood Village development when the developer filed their plans with the Duluth Planning Commission. Those plans will go under review at next weeks meeting.

Kenwood Village Development | Duluth Planning Commission

Little Caesar’s will open their second Duluth location on the ground floor in a 1,291 square foot space. The first location for the company in on Michigan Street in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The new location is expected to open in Spring of 2017

Duluth Teachers Credit Union will move their location from 1358 West Arrowhead Road into a new 2,271 square foot space on the ground floor. The new branch is expected to open sometime in 2017.

Don't forget the other previously announced tenant. Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels will open a dual branded location within development also. The 2,500 square foot location will be located on an end-cap on the ground floor and will feature a drive-thru.

One remaining 2,300 square foot retail space is available within the development. Could our dreams of getting a second Chipotle location come true? Let’s cross our fingers.

 

SEARS HOLDINGS LISTS DULUTH PROPERTIES

Sears has made three new "opportunities" available within the Twin Ports for retailers, developers/investors, and real estate brokers.

Sears Holdings Corporation, the real estate portion of the Sears/K-Mart company, has made available last three properties within the Twin Ports. This includes their 86,611 square foot K-Mart store at 215 North Central Ave in West Duluth along with their 98,938 square Sears store and the attached 9,131 square foot automative center at the Miller Hill Mall.

Throughout the state of Minnesota Sears Holdings has listed 11 K-Mart stores, 2 K-Mart Automotive Centers, 10 Sears stores and 10 Sears Automotive centers as available. Overall 33 properties were made available within Minnesota, one of those properties being the Sears flagship location at the Mall of America.

Available Sears Auto space highlighted in red

A CHANGE IN THE RETAIL GAME

As competition from online retailers and new retailers heats up Sears and K-Mart have seen a continued decline. This has resulted in a number of closings in the past few years with one of those being the K-Mart location near the Miller Hill Mall (now a Hobby Lobby and soon a PetSmart). More recently the company has begun to re-evaluate their company's real estate to see which properties the company can relieve themselves of resulting in large savings.

In some locations across the country Sears is downsizing their stores, many of which are over 100,000 square feet, to around 40,000 square feet leaving the rest up for redevelopment.

In some cases British retailer Primark is snatching up the extra space and opening some of their first locations within the United States. In others cases malls are using it as an excuse to expand their retail offerings with new retail space along with renovations.

NOW WHAT ABOUT DULUTH?

With the K-Mart space being listed in West Duluth it implies that that store would close. There is a chance the a real estate company could purchase the space and rent it back to K-Mart which would relieve Sears from a number of costs associated with owning a building rather than leasing it.

If K-Mart does close, it would be the biggest retail space to become available in the West End in decades and it would be a prime opportunity for a redevelopment and re-positioning of the Spirit Valley Shopping Center.

At the Miller Hill Mall the closing of Sears would be a major hit... or a major gain depending on the way you look at it. While the automotive center seems like it might be a little tougher spot to fill at it sits at the back of the mall, the Sears space is another story. 

You might not have noticed it but there is a MAJOR lack of space at the Miller Hill Mall recently. The downsizing of Sears or a closure could result in a huge opportunity for the Miller Hill Mall to expand it's retail space. 

All three spaces are available for inquiries here. In the future when more information becomes available on the potential future uses of these spaces you'll be able to find it right here on CDINDULUTH!

 
 

MILLS FLEET FARM TO OPEN TOMORROW

The day is here. Mills Fleet Farm will officially open the doors to their brand new Hermantown location tomorrow morning at 7am.

This will be the company's first Twin Ports location and second in the Northland. The 183,000 square foot store will open at the corner of Loberg Avenue and Market Street. The area surrounding it has been pegged as "Hermantown Marketplace" and is expected to see substantial retail growth in the future with Fleet Farm kickstarting that growth.

Store map for Hermantown (same as Appleton, WI location)  | Mills Fleet Farm

Store map for Hermantown (same as Appleton, WI location) | Mills Fleet Farm

Hermantown's location will sell thousands of items including sporting and hunting goods, farm supplies, clothing, home improvement items, and much more. There's even a seasonal garden center. 

That's not all though. There's also an auto service department, outdoor lumber yard, gas station with 16 filling stations, a car wash and even a kerosene dispenser.

The new store will employee between 150 and 200 people and will be open Monday through Friday from 7am-8pm, Saturdays 7am-9pm, and Sundays from 8am-pm. The gas station will be open daily from 6am-10pm.

 

Punch Pizza may have Duluth in its future

Ever heard of Punch Pizza? If you said no, you're missing out. It's a local Twin Cities chain of fast casual pizza restaurants that are known for their neapolitan styled pizza.

Punch crafts their pizza the traditional Italian way, so well in fact that the company actually is certified V.P.N., a designation given only to a select few pizzerias outside of Naples, Italy who are the best of the best. 

Founded by John Sarrano, the first Punch Pizza location opened on February 5th, 1996 in St. Paul's Highland neighborhood. In 2002, after partnering with John Puckett and his wife (the individuals responsible for creating a little coffee shop called Caribou Coffee), Punch opened their second location. Today, there are nine extremely successful Twin Cities locations.

Nine locations? That's not the stopping point for Punch Pizza, oh no, that's just the beginning.

There's more to this place than just pizza

While Punch Pizza is obviously known for their delicious Neapolitan styled pizza that is cooked to perfection in an 800 degree wood burning stove in just 90 seconds, the company has also made the news, nationally we might add, for another reason. 

In 2013 Punch Pizza raised their minimum wage for all new hires to $10 in order to attract the best talent and ultimately retain the best talent within their restaurants. The move gained the attention of President Barack Obama who even mentioned Punch Pizza in his State of the Union Address that year. Since then the minimum wage at Punch has been raised to $11, above the state of Minnesota's minimum wage of $9.  

Now where does Duluth come into the picture?

This past week the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal published an article on the recent growth of Punch Pizza within the Twin Cities market along with some of the company's future plans. While Punch has added a number of locations in the surrounding suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the company has yet to venture far from home (St. Paul).

John Puckett stated in an interview with the MSPBJ that Punch will open their 10th and 11th locations in Eagan and Vadnais Heights come Fall 2016. After that the company will continue to look for additional growth opportunities with the next areas of focus being Duluth, Rochester, and even potentially out of state in Madison, WI.

Those cities, hundreds of miles away from the original Punch Pizza location, would happen if an ideal situation occurred (there's a lot of moving parts). Based on the success of Punch to date, there's no doubt in our mind that Punch will be able to make those plans come to fruition.

So consider this our heads up Duluth, years in advance.

If you go to Punch the next time you're in the Twin Cities we suggest trying the "Palermo" pizza (it's to die for). Oh yeah, make sure you don't forget to get that side order of focaccia!

 

PetSmart plans Duluth location

Rendering of the Duluth PetSmart location | Duluth Planning Commission

Fido need a new toy? Don't worry, soon there will be another retailer in Duluth for all your pet's needs. PetSmart is planning a 29,000 square foot location in what is the last remaining retail space available in the former K-Mart space at 1734 Mall Drive.

PetSmart currently has 16 Minnesota locations, most of which are in the Twin Cities. The Duluth location would be the first Northern Minnesota location. The company is a direct competitor to Petco, which currently has one Twin Ports location at the Stone Ridge Shopping Center, about a mile away from the planned PetSmart location.

What began as small retail company with two locations in 1987, PetSmart has since expanded to include over 1,400 retail locations in Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico. To date the company employs over 53,000 individuals and posted a revenue of nearly $7 billion last year. 

THE DULUTH LOCATION

In 2013 Hobby Lobby opened a 55,000 square foot store in part of the former K-Mart space, leaving 29,000 square feet of additional retail space located to the left of theirs available for lease. This space is where PetSmart plans to call home in Duluth.

Interior of typical PetSmart location | PetSmart

NCD Duluth SC, LLC has submitted plans that will go before the Duluth Planning Commission's meeting on May 10th that show PetSmart taking ALL of the 29,000 square feet of remaining space. This would be quite large for a PetSmart as their store locations tend to average between 18,000 and 27,000 square feet in size.

PetSmart is known as a "one stop shop" when it comes to pet needs. In addition to the thousands of pet products for sale and small animals and fish, some locations feature pet grooming while others also feature Banfield Pet Hospitals and PetHotels, a fancy name for pet boarding and daycare. Those last two features are what truly set PetSmart apart from their competitor Petco. 

The renderings for the Duluth PetSmart location show only signage for grooming on the exterior, typically all of the services mentioned above would have exterior signage. At the moment it is unclear if all services will be offered at the Duluth location however it is very likely considering how much how large the location will be.

We will have more information on those specifics soon.

MORE THAN JUST PETSMART

But wait, there's more.

Plans that will presented to the city also show alos a renovation of the current Savers storefront to match the Hobby Lobby and PetSmart storefronts. PetSmart and Savers facades are designed to match what currently is the Hobby Lobby facade.

The entire parking lot for what is now called "Village Mall" will also be entirely replaced with all new curves and pavement, quite a bit of foliage, and designated medians separating the parking lot into parking areas for each tenant instead of one large sea of parking spaces as it currently is.

The entry from Mall Drive and Maple Grove Road will also be enhanced resulting in Grandma's Saloon and Grill's parking area being separated by medians and foliage from the main parking area for Village Mall.

One interesting detail shown is a large area of parking that will not be replaced closest to Mall Drive and Mountain Shadow Drive. It's listed as a "future submittal" in the landscaping/parking lot plans.

Another interesting detail is the pylon sign for Village Mall that is planned for Mall Drive. It shows space for Savers, Hobby Lobby, PetSmart... and an additional retail space. Problem is is that there isn't another available retail space for lease as all all buildings will be 100% leased once PetSmart opens.

Landscape plan showing PetSmart location and area of parking lot to not be replaced | Duluth Planning Commission

FUTURE ADDITIONAL RETAIL SPACE?

So what does this mean?

The future submittal for "Parking Lot #3" could mean that the developer/property owner is possibly looking at constructing an additional retail building on the parking lot that is not slated to be replaced.

Parking Lot 3 lines up with the far edge of the current building on site and would be prime area for additional retail space ranging most likely in the 20,000-40,000 square foot range. This building would most likely "box in" the parking area.

The plans for Village Mall show 568 parking spaces once all lots are replaced which is more than enough space for the three retailers on site. This also would enough space to allow additional retailers to locate on site.

While plans have not been solidified for what is referred to as "Parking Lot #3" we will be sure to keep you updated if any future plans are released.